The MacBook Air was announced at a small Back to Mac event on the 20th of October 2010.

The specifications include an improved design and screen, a new 11-inch version (not to be mistaken with netbook) the presence of 2 USB ports and most importantly, the usage of  a solid state drive.

The details on the device can be obtained from Apple’s official website. The legendary gadget teardown website iFixit has also performed a ceremonial teardown of the MacBook Air to reveal its innards.

This post is not about the MacBook Air as a product in itself but its long term significance in Apple’s grand plan of mobile computing. Steve Jobs mentioned that the MacBook represents the most significant product in their Mac line. He also jokingly described the MacBook Air as the result of what would happen if the iPad and the MacBook had hooked up.

The MacBook Air, by Jobs’ own indirect admission, is an iPad with a keyboard and a large multitouch trackpad.

The counter argument to the above point is the fact that it still runs on Snow Leopard ( Mac OS 10.6). However, when you factor in Apple’s next Mac OS 10.7 (Lion), the MacBook  Air and all other Macs get iOS functionality via the Launchpad application launcher.

The MacBook Air also employs solid state drive which is a first for a Mac. It is likely that the MacBook and the MacBook Pros of the future will begin to employ solid state drives. The other key point is the availability to purchase software through the App Store for the Mac. This move may even negate the presence of an optical drive in future MacBook Pro models and may only be available as external option which may be available as an external option. 

The day will come when iOS and the Mac OS will be one and the same, albeit with variable degrees of complexities for their i-devices and Macs. The MacBook Air and OS X Lion are the first steps in achieving this level of integration.Steve Jobs has thus, indirectly hinted at Apple’s road map for the Mac OS.

It certainly is Back to the Mac, but not in the way we know it.